Ordinance no. 15/2022 amends Romanian gambling legislation

√     Legal requirements expressly extended to class 2 licensees
√     New tax on gambling advertising
√     Tax burdens for class 1 and class 2 significantly increased
√     More severe sanctioning regimes

Ordinance no. 15/2022 amending and supplementing GEO no. 77/2009 on the organization and operation of gambling activities (the Gambling Law) entered into force on 18 July 2022.

Most relevant amendments include:

  • New tax for advertising. Agreements on advertising brands, platforms, apps, or activities related to gambling, placed in a public area or wired through TV will be subject to a tax for advertising gambling activities, in the amount of 5% of the agreements’ value. The tax is payable by organizers, who will submit copies of the relevant contracts with NOG. For ongoing advertising contracts, the tax should be paid in 30 days.
  • Changes in the regime of different types of games
  • Remote casino games. Online slot games are now expressly included in the category of “remote casino games”, while the new definition also clarifies that they can be organized on platforms using more than one internet domains.
  • Raffle games. The Ordinance expressly provides that participants to traditional raffle games must have the possibility to physically participate during the raffle and introduces new requirements for premises where raffle games are organized. The new threshold for prizes cannot be lower than 50% of the tickets issued for participating in the relevant raffle (the former threshold was set upon on the value of the sold tickets). Nevertheless, the Ordinance expressly obliges the organizer who provides raffle games to obtain the computer program / software from class 2 licensees.
  • Responsible gaming fee. Payment deadlines for the annual responsible gaming fee against gambling addiction becomes 25th of January instead of 15th of December. The fee becomes payable even if the license becomes ineffective during the respective year.
  • Guarantee of non-payment. The burden to set a financial guarantee for non-payment of state budget obligations was extended to organizers of raffle, poker tournaments and temporary games.
  • Mandatory notifications to NOG. Class 2 licensees are now expressly obliged to notify NOG when any relevant change in the information and data provided upon submitting the application for license occurs. The relevant changes – which currently include changes regarding the shareholding structure of the licensees, the powers of representation, or the premises where gambling activities are organized – will be detailed via an order of NOG’s President, presumably during the next 30 days. Notification should be made in 48 hours via online means or 5 banking days via courier.
  • Additional licensing requirements for organizers
  • Organizers will lose the license if their authorization of exploitation becomes ineffective, irrespective of the reasons.
  • Organizers can waive their licenses only after settling all their remaining taxes. It does not clearly result whether the ordinance refers to specific taxes or to outstanding ones.
  • Changes in the sanctioning regime
  • Blacklisting regime is extended, besides websites, over platforms, gambling brands, trademarks, logos or gambling apps.
  • The Ordinance expressly provides that NOG’s Monitoring Committee is entitled to annul or revoke not only class 1 licensees, but also class 2 ones and clarifies that its decisions are compulsory to class 2 licensees.
  • If an organizer’s gambling license is annulled following the provision of incorrect or inaccurate information to NOG, the revenues made by class 2 licensees who provided services to the respective organizer may also be seized. The prizes earned by good-faith players are to be kept.
  • Organizers are subject to new minor offenses, with fines ranging between RON 20,000-40,000. These specific provisions will enter into force 30 days after the publication of the new ordinance in the Official Gazette.
  • The fines applied under the Gambling Law will not be subject to the common regime of fines under which, within 15 days, the offender may pay only half of the minimum fine provide by the law.
  • Increase in license and authorization taxes. Gambling taxes have been increased for both organizers (class 1) and service providers (class 2) licensees. For class 2, license fees increase from EUR 6,000 to EUR 9,500 per year. They remain payable in 10 banking days before the expiry of each licensing year. As the Ordinance does not provide a specific date from which the new tax regime applies, all payments that are due starting with 18th July 2022 should fall under its provisions.

 

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